Lady Mary Russell's Father Held An Important Role In King George VI's Coronation

Installing a new leader to rule a country is always a special occasion as power is changing hands. The ceremony of a coronation for those nations with monarchs has often been a standing tradition for centuries. The pomp and circumstance associated with these gatherings are well known for being lavish and opulent, laden with symbols of authority and responsibility, some dating back for generations.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, the coronation of her successor, King Charles III, have become a topic of intense discussion. This is understandable, considering (per Biography) there hasn't been a king crowned in the United Kingdom since King George VI, in 1937. There are connections between the late queen's coronation and her father's as well. As it turns out, there is another family that had members present at the coronations of both King George and Queen Elizabeth, and both played a significant role in the ceremonies.

Queen Elizabeth II and Lady Mary Russell

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2, 1953 at Westminster Abbey (per History). The ceremony itself was described as one of "pomp and pageantry," featuring a gilded horse-drawn carriage and a procession stretching for miles. Surrounded by her new subjects along with government officials and family, Elizabeth swore her oath to serve the people of her kingdom, and did so for seven decades, until her death at age 96.

There were many recognizable and memorable aspects of Queen Elizabeth's coronation ceremony, but arguably one of the most eye-catching was her dress. According to People, the gown was made of white duchess satin, featured dazzling embroidered flowers, and weighed a whopping 11 pounds. With all that weight, fortunately, the future queen was assisted by six maids of honor who helped carry her train. The youngest of these ladies was Lady Mary Russell, who was only 19 at the time. Her ties to the coronations of both Queen Elizabeth and King George came up again following her death on September 18, the day before the queen's funeral.

King George VI and the Earl of Haddington

It was never really assumed that George VI would become king (per Biography). But with the abdication of his brother, Edward, he took the throne and was crowned on May 12, 1937. His coronation ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey and was broadcast to millions over radio (a first) as well as the new medium of television. Due to the debacle with his brother vacating the throne, King George VI was anxious to reestablish confidence in the royal family and their ability to rule. As such, the coronation was quite an elaborate spectacle to behold.

One of the most recognizable items featured in the coronation ceremonies of British sovereigns is the Sceptre of the Dove. This scepter is one of two that are presented to a monarch when they are first crowned (per Tatler). This particular piece of the crown jewels was presented to George VI during his coronation by the Earl of Haddington. The Earl of Haddington was a childhood friend of the Queen Mother, and was also the father of Lady Mary Russell. As such, there have been two generations of the same family who were present and participated in the crowning of their nation's monarchs.